Sunday, September 22, 2013

Senator Bennet Understands What Leaf Peepers Are, and Why We Need Them.

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
U.S. Senator, Michael Bennet and Mayor Joe Gierlach,
discuss the unique characteristics of high altitude living
I had a chance to meet with U.S. Senator, Michael Bennet at the Longmont Disaster Assistance Center in Twin Peaks Mall.

While we did talk about Boulder Canyon, and the RTD N Bus, we also talked about the unique culture of individuals who live at high altitude. He understands why some mountain folks might not feel comfortable seeking assistance by traveling all the way to a shopping mall in Longmont. I illustrate a bit of it here: Rules for Local Distinctiveness. So, we are exploring ways for providing some disaster relief assistance in Nederland for our friends in the western portion of the disaster area.

I explained to him how the local MERN Network saved lives during this flood event, as described in this Times-Call guest column: Sandra Harem: Amazing Help in Evacuation.

We also talked about the impact to local businesses with Connie Sullivan who is a business owner and on the Lyons Board of Trustees. Senator Bennet even understands the significance of Leaf Peeping Season for our local economy.

Aspen trees in Nederland during Leaf Peeping Season
Because the canyon roads are closed down below, the federal government knows that it will have an impact on our local businesses, so I was introduced to a couple of officers from the U.S. Small Business Administration who said that this would qualify most Nederland area businesses for an SBA Loan.

There are three ways to apply:
  • Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure website.
  • Apply in person at any Disaster Recovery Center and receive personal, one-on-one help from an SBA representative. [For additional information or to find a location visit this web site, or call (800) 659-2955.]
  • Apply by mail: Complete a paper application and mail it to SBA at: 14925 Kingsport Rd., Ft. Worth TX 76155-2243
It is free to sign-up. You don't have to accept it, and have six months to decide if you need it. But, you must sign-up within 60 days of the event to retain that option.

SBA loans are based on your business before the event, so they are far more flexible than banks. Six months from now, you may want to use this option, so it is highly recommended to sign up now. Sorry, no marijuana businesses (I asked) from this federal program, but hydroponic grow supply stores would qualify.

Here is a video clip on how Michael Wooten from 9News covered the story: Flooding hurting business in Nederland

I've met Senator Bennet several times and I'm inspired when I hear him speak in such a frank way. Last spring, he gave us a very candid legislative update at the Metro Mayors Caucus. He works hard for Colorado like bringing the U.S. Regional Patent Office to Denver. He knows why I support the Marketplace Fairness Act and how it levels the playing field for our local businesses. I feel that I was able to convey our unique needs for small businesses, disaster relief efforts in the mountains, the wisdom of providing services right here in the mountain community, and maintaining the priority for transportation. I believe Senator Bennet genuinely understands it. He said he wouldn't tell anyone I was inside a shopping mall.

[Here is a Video Valediction] This is Leftover Salmon covering Bob Dylan's Tangled Up in Blue, along with performing Two Trains at the Ogden Theater in Denver (2011). [What is a Video Valediction?]
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